PerfecDraw Cigar Tool Review

PerfecDraw Cigar Tool Review


Been a while since I’ve written anything about cigar accessories, but PerfecDraw (notice the spelling) is a good opportunity.

We should all have a draw tool or two lying around. Draw tools save cigars otherwise unsmokeable because they are plugged. You cut them right and discover that you either can’t draw any air through it or drawing air is very difficult. We all prefer a certain draw. Some like it a little tighter, some a little looser, but no matter which we prefer there are some cigars that are “too tight”. The draw tool, inserted from the head of the cigar, opens a channel through what ever it is plugging the cigar. It might be a vein in the wrong place or an uneven and too-tight bundling. And there is another, even more common reason cigars get plugged after you light them, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Any dowel-like metal pole a millimeter or so in diameter (about 1/16″) will serve as a draw tool. Put a point on it, and you have a draw tool. But the better ones have some cutting or roughening at their tip as well as a sharp point. The idea here is that opening a channel isn’t enough because when you withdraw the tool, the channel just closes back. What you want is to pull just a little tobacco back out of the channel so when it does close up it can’t close up all the way.

In the center picture, the tool tip on the right is pretty typical. The tip is etched (roughened) by a laser. The rough surface shaves tobacco from the walls of the channel. When you withdraw the tool a little tobacco dust falls out. Sometimes, it isn’t enough and I have to work the tool in and out (yeah it’s like that) to get a channel that stays a channel when the tool comes out.

The tool tip on the left (center picture and center with case on the right on the lower left) is my new PerfecDraw (see Notice the spelling, no ‘t’! If you go to you will find, of all things, an  interesting cigar site! The PerfecDraw tool has the most aggressive tip I have ever seen. From the tip (very sharp) it slides easily into the cigar, while the bottom edge of the cone that spirals up the last half inch or so is razor sharp. When you pull it out of the cigar it cuts and drags back quite a bit of cut up leaf. The further you push it into the cigar, the more it pulls back of course and the idea is to push it only as far as the plugged part. But as aggressive as it is (I’ve used it a few times now) it never seems to pull out too much. So far, draws have never become “too loose” and the cigars have not gotten squishy (too loosely packed). The tool comes with a nice case. It screws into the case and has a pocket clip, all in all a very nice package.

But PerfecDraw is only 4″ long! What if the plug is more than 4″ from the head? What about pyrolysis plugs where the cigar plugs up after you light it because the tobacco swells as moisture is released behind the hot coal? From my experience this is the most common sort of plug. Once in 50 or more cigars to I experience a pre-light plug. Sometimes a cigar is tighter than I like (and I use my draw tool) but some smokers like their draw that way. Much more often I light a cigar that draws fine, and then, a half dozen draws into it the cigar begins to tighten up sometimes way too much. What to do? Insert your [conventional] draw tool through the cigar all the way to the coal. You can feel the coal because the tool feels like it’s breaking through a crust. Now the cigar smokes properly again, but half dozen puffs later, it’s plugged again! On some cigars (more than I care to count) this happens throughout the smoke down to the last couple inches. You can keep using the tool, and that works, but the problem is you have to keep using it! How would the PerfecDraw work this problem, and how especially if the cigar is bigger than a petit robusto or petit corona?

OK, I was surprised, but it does work. I pushed all 4″ into a 6″ cigar with a pyrolysis plug. The tool didn’t open a channel all the way to the coal of course, but it did open enough channel in the last 4″ of the cigar that I could draw it better anyway. I didn’t need to go all the way to the coal. Better still, when the cigar burned down to the channel, its tendency to plug behind the coal disappeared!

At $40 the PerfecDraw is twice the price of my other draw tools, but truth be told it works twice as good too! I recommend it highly.


Also in the picture above (upper right) is a little bottle with a black cap. This is PerfecRepair, and like PerfecDraw, it works as advertised. It seems to be a colloidal suspension. The cap has a little brush attached to it, and in the bottle is a little BB that helps to break up and distribute the colloid (probably food grade gelatin) when shaken vigorously. Who hasn’t experienced a wrapper unraveling? Starting from a little corner at the foot, head, or middle of the cigar, the unraveling keeps getting worse as you smoke. Lift up that first corner, brush a thin coat of PerfecRepair under it, seal it back in place, count to 10, and voila, the unraveling stops there! But it gets better. How many of us have had a cigar crack and split (sometimes the wrapper and binder) at the foot when you light it? How about a cracked cap when you cut or punch the cigar? When that happens, dab a little blob of PerfecRepair on the crack and it stops right there! For $7 there’s enough goop in the bottle for 30 or more cigars (I’m guessing). Again well worth the price.

Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 2006 rum

Review: Hamilton St. Lucian 2006 rum

I seem to have missed reviewing this rum and thought I’d better get to it while I yet have some left. Edward Hamilton is a modern adventurer of the old school. He has been everywhere and done a lot. Eventually he found his way to the Carribbean and fell in love with rum, its history, and its making. Sometime later (2006) he started “The Ministry of Rum” website (and then taught himself enough computer coding to make it better). The sight is a fantastic source of rum information. A lot of its categories are inactive. If you look at his “rum of the month” you discover that only two were ever entered, the latest in 2006! But the forums are very active with hundreds of rum and whiskey subjects discussed, and his informational essays (dozens of them) about rum will always remain relevant. There is a lot of education to be had here. Membership, allowing you to participate in the forums, is free.

Edward eventually put together a collection of rums under his own name. Alas this is one of the moribund parts of his website, only 4 of his collection listed and described. There must be nearly a dozen now, but all (I’m not sure of that) limited bottlings some no longer easily found. The nice thing about buying any Hamilton rum is that you know you’re getting something honest, unadulterated, well made, and not on the mass market. His labeling is among the best in the industry. On the front of my bottle it says:

Hamilton St. Lucian Pot Still 2006
Distilled by Lucian Distillers batch 813-7CS Aged 7 years
63.8% ABV

Supposedly you can put that batch number in some field somewhere on his website and find out more about that particular batch, but I have been unable to find that entry point. Perhaps one of my readers here will have better luck. The back label says this:

Back label: Hand selected by Edward Hamilton for the Ministry of Rum collection from the cask aging warehouse at St. Lucia Distillers Ltd for its flavor and authenticity. Distilled from fermented molasses in a Vendome Pot Still, this medium-bodied rum was imported in the cask in which it was aged in St. Lucia.

As I understand it the barrels are imported in New York where they are bottled. Let’s get to the rum.

Color: Medium amber, copper a little organge rather than red. The rum in my glass is just slightly cloudy. Mind I opened this particular bottle about 3 months ago and I do not remember the rum being cloudy when it was fresh. I have one more bottle, I’ll try to remember to update this review when I get around to opening it.

Legs: Swirrled it forms the tiniest of droplets at the front of the glass that only slowly coalesce towards the back in thick legs that slowly drop down the glass.

The aromas of this rum are fantastic. Only a little alcohol (interesting considering the almost 64% ABV), no acetone, no “young rum notes”. It smells rich and sweet with ripe but not overripe fruit: apricot, orange, banana, allspice (or something like it), and a noticible “pot still” funk so up front in rums like Pusser’s and Appleton 12.

The flavor strikes me as nothing like the aroma. The contrast is jarring. This rum is not sweet; very dry. I cannot taste any of the fruit I get on the nose. There is burnt brown sugar that isn’t sweet, tobacco, and a meld of oaky smokey (as smokey as rum gets) notes I can’t tell apart but I can tell there is a lot of nuance here I am not qualified to reach. The alcohol makes its presence known. It isn’t in the least harsh, but it comes up across the mouth and down the throat with a medium finish that speaks of oak. The fire stays with you for a bit after the swallow slowly fading. The texture wants to be creamy but the alcohol cuts through the cream. There are lots of contrasts in this rum but they don’t fight, they get along and sum to something interesting and different.

Given the high ABV I had to see what a little water did to the flavor. Turns out not a lot! Adding 5 or 6 drops and then twice that to an ounce brings out a little fruit from the nose but only by a little. I get a little banana, maybe raisin but it’s hard to tell. There is less heat but not by much. All the melded richness, the flavors I can’t separate, is still there, the funk is even a bit stronger. The rum still isn’t sweet, but maybe not quite so dry. Perhaps there is a little less oak bitterness, and the aftertaste gets a little longer.

At around $50/750ml here I’m on the fence with this rum. I have one more bottle to try, but not sure I would buy more even if I can still find it. I think the price is very good given the complexity, depth, and balance of the rum. It is a very good rum if you like this kind of profile. I can enjoy it, and I can appreciate it because to really get in to rum you have to stretch your palate. But it isn’t something I sip and say “wow I love this”. I have to work at it.

There is a good review of this rum by Inu Akena at his website. Hit the link.

The cigar by the way is a “Cinco Maduro” from Rodrigo Cigars. Medium strength with wrapper, binder, and all the filler blend made from maduro (5 different) leafs if I recall a “lost creation” of Island Jim. Don’t know if there are any of these left but George has a lot of good cigars and frequent discounts. It’s worth getting on his mailing list.

Rum Review: Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend

Rum Review: Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend

In the closing months of 2016 I discovered 10 delicious rums all new to me. Three of these were from Foursquare distillery of Barbados under the direction of R. L. Seale. I reviewed two of these, the “2004” and “Port Cask Finish” last year calling them possibly the best rums I’ve ever had. At the time of their discovery I learned about this third member of the group but until recently couldn’t find any. That changed a few weeks ago and this offering is even better than the others!

So what do we have here with this Foursquare Zinfandel Cask Blend? Aged 11 years in bourbon barrels and then [dry] zinfandel wine casks, bottled at 43% ABV. The label says clearly that there are no additives in this rum just like its cousins.


Color: A beautiful medium amber
Swirled: Forms tiny droplets a few coalescing into thin and slow running legs.
Aroma: Brown sugar, maple syrup, raisen, and only a little alcohol. There are no burnt notes in the aroma, only sweetness. This perhaps the best smelling rum ever!

Sipped it is very smooth and creamy. There is a nice warmth going down the throat, but it comes up gradually and never burns. Every sip has hints of brown sugar, dried apricot, coffee, raisen, and maybe a little chocolate (or I imagining that?) along with the maple syrup I noted in the aroma. The finish is a bit short, but still sweet with no bitterness. Like the aroma the flavors have no burnt notes in them.

As I finish the glass the creaminess grows richer, the sweetness and other flavors fade back a bit, and the aftertaste gets a little longer. All in all this is one hell of a rum and with no sugar or other additives must get its sweetness from its time in the zin barrels. It is my understanding that these are dry barrels too imparting flavors only and not mixing the rum with a little zinfandel remaining in the barrel.


At $45 here in California, this has got to be one of the best rum deals in the world! I cannot recommend anything more than this. It isn’t always easy to find R. L. Seale’s work here in the U.S. and this group of three rums seems to have popped up in California fairly recently. Seale is a well known name in unadulterated rums these days and I’m very glad to have discovered his work at last.

Zinfandel cask blend, as good as rums get!

A Tale of Two Bourbons


I haven’t had a lot of experience with bourbon. I’ve had dozens of rums over some 5+ years, but I’ve only had experience with three bourbons, a small batch Four Roses of which I had 1 glass (was good, but apart from its sweetness I don’t remember it much). Then there are these two pictured, a Henry McKenna 10 year single barrel, and Elijah Craig small batch, both produced by the Heaven Hill Distillery Company headquartered in Bardstown Kentucky. Production happens in Louisville KY at the company’s Bernheim distillery. Wikipedia tells me this company is the seventh largest whiskey supplier in the U.S., and has the second largest holdings of bourbon in the world! It is the largest independent family-owned producer of whiskey in the U.S. My McKenna bottle has a bottle number (2099) and barreling date (10-6-05) on its label.

I don’t really know how to describe and review bourbons as compared to rums as I’ve had so little experience with them. Both of these are similar in color (the H.M. is a little lighter), a medium amber much like a 5-10 year old rum. Swirled in the glass they both produce thin legs, the E.C. a little thicker than the H.M. but the latter’s legs run more slowly. On the nose there is a little alcohol, and they are not as fruity as many rums, but the E.C. has a deep brown sugar aroma, while the H.M. is lighter in sugar notes with a bit more alcohol and scents I cannot place on the nose. The E.J. is 47% ABV and the H.M. 50% so not much difference there.

As for flavor, the H.M. has some kind of ripe fruitiness I cannot identify. I can identify a sort of smokey flavor. The E.C. has a family resemblance (perhaps something “bourbony” that I just don’t understand yet), but it is definitely sweeter than the H.M. That sweetness obscures its smokiness but it is still there. The H.M. has a cleaner less layered flavor while the E.C. is much richer with warm notes I cannot quite identify other than its sweetness. Both seem to be very good bourbons. The after taste of the E.C. is a little longer and much sweeter than the H.M. Neither ever becomes bitter. I don’t know for sure, but I think I did pretty well for my first two bourbon selections. Would love to hear comments from my readers who have had some experience with these and others like them.

The cigar by the way is a Cinco Maduro made from 5 different maduro leaves -yes, even in the filler. These were developed by a guy who calls himself “Island Jim” and is the same guy responsible for the very delicious “Leaf by Oscar” blends. According to the story these were I.J.’s first blend. He ordered 200 cigars for himself, but the factory made a mistake and made 200 bundles! I.J. took what he could afford and the rest were left in an aging room at a Rocky Patel factory for decade or more until they were rediscovered by accident! They are very good, rich, sweet with complex flavor layering like the E.C. bourbon!  I do not know if there are any left, but mine came from Rodrigo Cigars, so you might look them up and see if there are some still for sale.