RoMa Craft Neanderthal HN Cigar

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Known for rich taste and full body, RoMa craft cigars pack a punch; there’s no denying it. So, when creative mastermind and owner of RoMa Tobac, Skip Martin dreamed of an even richer, more indulgent cigar, he was actually dreaming of the Neanderthal HN.

It all started when Martin was introduced to Pennsylvania Double Ligero from the U.S. Green River Valley, a regrowth of the Pennsylvania Broadleaf. A regrowth leaf is described by as “[the leaf that] emerges when the leaves are cut off of a plant and a second set of leaves grows before it is removed from the ground”

These regrowth leaves are added to blends, primarily from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, to really boost flavor, power, and nicotine levels. In fact, the Pennsylvania Double Ligero has about 13 percent more nicotine than Nicaraguan Ligero primings.

While the Neanderthal HN is very strong, it is still enjoyable, very smooth, and balanced. Strong and sweet from a US Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a dark Mexican San Andres Maduro wrap (not for new smokers) yet primarily flavors still come through as black pepper and rich soil.

The shape even adds to the intensity of this cigar: tapered and pyramid-like, the cigar actually gets more intense as you smoke it. This shape combined with the dark color of its wrapper and its intricate packaging and details, the Neanderthal HN cigar is very attractive in all aspects.

The smell pre-smoke is strongly of soil, coffee, and slight farm aroma. The cold draw taste of sweet tobacco and cedar wood. After first lighting you’re hit with a lot of black pepper, espresso, and soil. Then a nice even burn throughout the smoke. The tastes intensify maintaining the black pepper, coffee, and soil flavors in addition to licorice, cedar, tobacco, and spice.

Overall, if you’re looking for full and flavorful, the Neanderthal HN is not going to disappoint

Red Lion, PA — A Rich Cigar History

If you went to Red Lion, Pennsylvania and asked a local resident if they knew someone who worked at a Red Lion cigar factory, chances are they did.

If you went to Red Lion, Pennsylvania and asked a local resident if they knew anyone currently working at a Red Lion cigar factory, their answer would be a resounding “no.”

At one time producing 10 percent of cigars sold in the United States, Red Lion was infamous for being one of the largest cigar-producing towns in the country, boasting 30 factories throughout the late 19th and early 20th century. Employing many of the town’s residents, the cigar industry essentially built the town of Red Lion, which is home to approximately 6,333 people, according to the 2013 Census.

The opera house? Built on cigar profits. The theater? Again, cigar profits.

Throughout the height of its popularity, it was hard to find a corner of Red Lion that cigars didn’t touch–you could find women stripping the stem from tobacco leaves in their own homes, or hear songs and poems written about the factories by their workers.

Once machinery was introduced into the cigar industry, Red Lion residents loved their jobs so much that they went on strike in 1934 to protect their beloved jobs. That strike ended with police intervention.

The last cigar factory left in the 1.28 square mile town, Van Slyke & Horton, closed its doors back in 2011. First opening in 1910, the company employed around 60 people and produced tens of thousands of cigars per month in the height of it’s cigar popularity.

In its golden era, Red Lion was the richest place, per-capita, in the entire nation, according to Shirley Keeports, director of the Red Lion Historical Society’s museum.

Cigar manufactures have been facing a tough market, with periods of discouraging lows (cigar consumption dropped by more than 66 percent between the mid-1960s and early 1990s) and an embargo prohibiting nearly all trade between Cuba and the United States marking a resurgence in business, this centuries-old trade is certainly resilient.

However, the fluctuating market wasn’t strong enough to keep the Red Lion factories in business.

“It certainly is the end of an era,” said Joe Jacobs, manager of the factory. “There were a lot of people who lived a very good life because of it. The industry was responsible for Red Lion being such a flourishing community at that time, and there was a time when most men had a cigar in their mouth. We just always thought people would smoke.”

5 Great Cigar Bars & Lounges in Philly

If you find yourself and a few friends out on the town one night, or if you’re looking for that perfect after-work hangout spot, check out some of these cigar and hookah lounges below. All are located in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area.

Infusion Lounge

Infusion Lounge

Xhale Cigar Lounge
Xhale is a smoke shop and cigar loungue designed to connect Fishtown residents with some of the world’s finest cigars. Xhale provides Ashton cigars by Robert Levin, a second generation tobacconist from Philadelphia. In addition to cigars, Xhale also sells vaporizers, hookahs, and glass pipes.
Address: 453 E Girard Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Ashton Cigar Bar
Ashton Cigar Bar sits right on top of Holt’s Cigar Company, one of Philadelphia’s oldest cigar shops. This bar offers a selection of 200 premium cigars, 330 whiskeys and 500 total spirits. Additionally, this location is equipped with a built-in air purification system, creating an enjoyable atmosphere for optimal comfort. Dress code is business casual or casual chic.
Address: 1522 Walnut Street, 2nd Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Smoke Cigar & Hookah Lounge
Smoke provides a luxurious exposed brick setting with BYOB and storage amenities. You have the ability to leave personal bottles for a monthly fee, or you can bring you preferred beer, wine, or liquor to the establishment free of charge. With plush, leather seating, Smoke offers a relaxing atmosphere for enthusiasts to smoke cigars or hookah. Reservations are recommended as seats fill quickly.
Address: 4453 Main Street, Manayunk, PA 19127

Infusion Lounge
This chic spot hosts parties, VIP events, and special guest DJs. In addition to a full bar and Royal VIP Lounge, Infusion also offers a smoke and hookah lounge. Check out their unique combination of victorian era decor and random pops of spontaneous color. Table and bottle service is available as well for those of you looking to make a luxurious night out of the occasion.
Address: 16 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

The Ranstead Room
The Ranstead Room is one of those discrete, diamond-in-the-rough type of places where you receive a far better experience than you could have imagined. Kick back and enjoy a cigar and drink at this local favorite. Be sure to show up early as this dimly lit speakeasy fills up fast on a Friday or Saturday night.
Address: 2013 Ranstead St., Philadelphia, PA 19103

Cigar Smoking a Lifestyle Trend in PA

With more and more people enjoying cigars, cigar smoking has become an apparent trend in central Pennsylvania over the past few years. Rich in tobacco production history, York County was home to some of the largest cigar manufacturing companies in the early 1900s. These well known factories included T.E. Brooks, Winters and Co, Jacobs, and John Peeler. By 1920, York was responsible for over 500 million cigars a year.

Recently, consumers have been gravitating towards alternative smoking options to cigarettes. After World War II, cigarette popularity dominated to tobacco market, leaving little room for cigars. But with the rise of e-cigarettes, vapes, and hookahs, casual and regular smokers alike are turning away from traditional cigarette use. Cigars, e-cigarettes, and vapes have a unique advantage over cigarettes in that they lack the usual carcinogenic toxins, tar, or nicotine included. This allows casual smokers to feel more comfortable indulging. Additionally, most cigar smokers refrain from inhaling cigar smoke, instead opting to taste the deep, smoky flavors and then exhale.


Nicolas Cage smoking a cigar.

Cigar dinners have also gained popularity among both men and women. At these dinners, cigars are paired with a specific menu course and liquor. Light to medium cigars pair best with foods, often meat based. The John Wright Restaurant in Wrightsville has been hosting cigar dinners for over 5 years now, averaging 11 dinners a year. The restaurant has successfully sold out each dinner for the past 4 years.

Of course, the most popular aspect of cigar smoking is simply enjoying the conversation and relaxing atmosphere it allows. Social clubs are sprouting all throughout Lancaster and Harrisburg, allowing smokers to schedule meet-ups or host parties. Cigars are also being used as a token of celebration and accomplishment, enhanced by the romantic and luxurious atmosphere many cigar lounges provide.

The cigar lounge customers are extremely diverse, ranging from college graduates, businessmen, police officers, and artists. Regardless of background, all can appreciate the unifying element of the experience.

Pennsylvania Survives Cigar Tax

Last year, bill S.B. 1292 was introduced to the Pennsylvania legislature that would impose a 3.6 cents per cigar tax. This would have been an increase from the current 0 percent tax that so many cigar retailers rely on. While that seemed bad enough, Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015 budget proposal included an astounding 40 percent sales tax on wholesale cigars. This would have made Pennsylvania cigars among the most expensive in the nation, right next to Colorado and Idaho, potentially altering cigar shipment patterns nationwide. The only other states that benefit from a 0 percent tax are Florida, New Hampshire, and Washington D.C. Many private and business to business companies benefit from the 0 percent Pennsylvania tax on wholesale cigars and would have been hurt if the budget proposal passed, pushing them to other locations. According to a Pennlive article, Wolf’s proposed tax would “raise an additional $358 million [on cigars]; taxes on other tobacco products an additional $84 million, according to administration forecasts.” The could have severely depressed the Pennsylvania tobacco market.

Fortunately, the budget proposal was defeated unanimously, 193-0. While this was an obvious save for the Pennsylvania cigar industry, June 30 marks the official end of the year’s fiscal budget and leaves room for the cigar tax to be reconsidered. The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association is negotiating for the tax to continue being withheld.