Are Cuban Cigars Good Because They Are Forbidden Fruit?


In the early 1960’s American culture was conservative and the hippies and beat-nicks had not made their impact upon the world. The Super Powers (USA and Soviet Union) were engaged in a race to land on the moon and the birth control pill was approved by the FDA. These events were pre-1962 in which the Super Powers had a missile crisis in Cuba H. Upmannthat led to the USA imposing a trade embargo against Cuba.

Before President John F. Kennedy signed the trade embargo he sent his press secretary to buy 1,200 boxes of H. Upmann Petit Coronas, Cuban cigars, before they were made illegal. This act by the President demonstrated the value and importance of Cuban cigars before politics.

Since 1962 Cuban cigars are no longer imported into the USA. Current policy only allows $100 worth of Cuban tobacco products that can be brought into the country which amounts to 2-6 cigars (depending on quality).

For the last 50 plus years Cuban cigars were a forbidden fruit in the USA. Cigar TBJ Cohiba box and tubosaficionados have differing opinions on whether Cuban cigars are the apex of tobacco but make no mistake the climate, tradition, seed and history is firmly planted on that island and incomparable. Cuban cigars hold such a high regard there are plenty of fakes on the market so buyer beware.

A few online companies sell them but do your homework and make sure they are credible and don’t sell fakes. One great website is who supplied the Cohiba Siglos IV for this article. Make sure to visit their website and explore the extensive offerings and deals.

We have many different cigars in our humidor/coolidor and must admit the Cohiba’s are Cohiba and hatunique. It’s not only the iconic logo and black, gold/yellow color scheme that sets them apart but the quality of each cigar is amazing. The triple cap, embossed label and quality of the leaf is everything a cigar should be.

Much like everything else in life everyone’s five senses will not be identical but Cuban cigars should be highly regarded because the history and tradition can produce one of the best smokes of your life.

Cuban cigars are not “good” because they are the forbidden fruit their reputation and quality is what sets the benchmark for all others. Many companies state “Cuban seed” tobacco that is grown somewhere else which is an indicator of the powerful lineage and that is the true greatness of this unique tobacco that is planted on a beautiful island 90 miles away from Florida.

Mr. M
Psalm 34:4

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Update: 120 Years of Barbering the Film & Traditional Barber Journal


First I would like to thank you for all the support and encouragement. I have continually worked hard to write great articles and create innovative publications and films. I do not share my personal life but I believe I owe it to you since many of you are waiting for my work.

I alone created Gentlemen’s Avenue and for the last 4 years created 3 publications; The Avenue Men’s Magazine, Traditional Tattoo Journal, Traditional Barber Journal. I also made a few short films for YouTube and created the series, Real California. Last year with the sponsorship of Donnie Hawley and Layrite I shot my first film 120 Years of Barbering. Not only did Mrs. M and I film it but I have been the sole editor. Which needless to say is a ton of work but extremely enjoyable. Oh, I also manage the website and all social media.

Mrs. M and I had the privilege to photograph many barber shops in Southern California for hospital signa coffee table book series, Revival Of The Traditional Barber Shop.

Along the way Mrs. M has been my support, camera operator, critique and an amazing woman.

A little over a month ago I suffered a back injury (nerve damage) that put me down and I halted all work. Just sitting up was painful much less working on the computer. Mrs. M has helped me write the last few posts and has become my hands.

I am still receiving treatment and finally able to work for 10-15 minutes each day. Somedays are worse than others. I do not have a staff or departments to complete the works in progress so everything relies upon me. For those that have met me are well aware that we are a family operation.

So please allow me more time to complete the projects I started. I anticipate 120 Years of Barbering to be completed by August 2016. The Traditional Barber Journal will be released late September 2016. If there are any setbacks please extend your patience and understanding during this difficult time. I intend to complete everything I started.

Mr. M
Psalm 31:1

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Morgan Pipes: This BlackJack Scores 21!


18tolkienpic-superJumboAs soon as humanity was able to harness fire I am sure smoking tobacco soon followed. This long tradition is flourishing today due to amazing craftsmen that are forging traditional tobacco pipes with high grade materials.

History reflects a variety of men that enjoyed a tobacco pipe as a luxury and relaxation. And for many it became an iconic symbol of sophistication. J.R.R. Tolkien (left) the author of the Lord of Stalin pipethe Rings famously enjoyed the pipe. This leisurely activity was not only reserved for the literary minds but also dictators such as Joseph Stalin (right) partook of the pipe.

The pipe is a DIY for tobacco connoisseur’s because you are able to blend various types of tobacco to produce a unique and enjoyable blend. Maybe you prefer a sweeter cherry flavor with a dash of vanilla or you may prefer a strong whiskey blend. Either way you can customize and experiment to your taste.

Recently we received a great pipe from Chris Morgan owner of Morgan Pipes and let me tell you I am impressed. He sent the BlackJack series Shape 20 that is made of briar wood “which is a tumor-like outgrowth that develops between root and stem of white heath (Erica arborea)” This special wood is heat resistant and ideal for pipe making.  The pipe has a nickel silver band and acrylic stem. The construction is solid and well made.

Morgan pipe side viewThe pipe is handmade in Italy to Mr. Morgans demanding specifications with a sandblasted carnauba wax finish that provides just the right amount of matte. Although the pipe is black there is a great contrast with the nickel band and shiny acrylic stem. There is an imprinted Morgan Pipes rabbit on the pipe and model name. Every nook and groove of the pipe declares that it is handmade and produces tons of character. The pipe smokes wonderfully and every draw is smooth and enjoyable.

A major upside to smoking a pipe, besides producing your own blends and looking hell a Morgan pipe top viewcool, is that depending on the depth of the bowl and how much you pack it with you can enjoy on average 30-45 min smoke and up to 1.5 hours.

We highly recommend Morgan Pipes BlackJack Shape 20. All great products begin and end with the owner/craftsmen.  Have no doubt that every detail of the pipe is a reflection of Mr. Morgan’s passion.

In addition to the handmade pipes from Italy there are highly sought after custom one-off pipes that Mr. Morgan produces in the USA on a commission basis. Another great product is the briar cigar that is really impressive. We hope to review more products from Morgan Pipes so stay tuned!  On a personal note I really admire Mr. Morgan because in a day and age where people can become fake or a personality he is genuine and real.

Mr. M
Psalm 30:2-3

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A Cigar Fit For An Admiral

The following review was done by our good friend Elias Kotsios. 

Historical Note: “On the 28th of October of 1492, sixteen days after the discovery of the Indies, Christoph Kolumbus landed in the Cuban bay of Bariay. His biggest surprise was to find indigenous people smoking dried leaves which formed a blue and aromatic smoke. He later discovered that these cigars where used to cure skin illness, alleviate suffering and to celebrate its ritual ceremonies.” From Kolumbus website in which he is referred to as the Admiral. 

Kolumbus Premium Cigars are located in La Palma, Spain. All of their cigars are TBJ II Kolumbus cigars focused lid nothandmade and seasoned in Spanish cedar cellars.  I was anxious to try these cigars, the pictures and description piqued my interest.  The cigar I decided to go with first was the K-Azul Piramide, the cigar had a very nice appearance and had an appealing Connecticut wrapper. During the dry draw there was a vanilla taste that existed and peppery notes were present as well.

Once lit it had a nice smooth draw not too tight and the taste was pretty straight forward, the vanilla was no longer present and my pallet was filled with more pepper and nutty notes. The cigar had a consistent burn with no tunneling and the construction held up well, when a cigar begins to unravel it is irritating for every cigar smoker (I’m sure I’m not alone).  Towards the mid point of the cigar is when I began to notice a difference in the flavor, at that point the vanilla began to slowly come in but it wasn’t overwhelming. I was really enjoying this cigar and it began to become more complex towards the shoulder of the cigar, at that point I was reaching about 40 minutes of smoking.  The end of the cigar Elias screen shot kolumbusdid not change much continued with the well balanced taste that existed from the initial light up, total smoking time was about 55 minutes.

Overall this was a great cigar, I will definitely add Kolumbus cigars to my humidor. It was a smooth consistent smoke the whole way through with a great draw that didn’t tighten up at all. This was their mild strength option, there is also the K-Rojo (mild/full) and the K-Negro (moderate). Stack some of these sticks in your humidor they will not disappoint.  I’m patiently waiting to see what the gents over at Kolumbus cigars have coming up in the future, if these cigars are an indication of what we have in store, the cigar community will be very pleased.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -SPECS-                                                                                                                                  -Length 156mm                                                                                                                    -Diameter 20.64mm                                                                                                             -Ring Gauge 52

filler from Breña and Claro Connecticut wrapper.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             -Elias Kotsios-

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Tools Of Our Trade


Every craftsman employs tools to create marvelous products, goods and services. Our tools are necessary to create and forge a new path for modern men of tradition and distinction. The only tool that cannot be purchased is passion because that is from within.

pictured: Allen Edmonds Broadstreet shoes, Rode Videomic Pro, Panasonic GH4 camera, Rokinon 10mm lens, SLR Magic Hyperprime 25mm lens, Voigtlander 17.5mm lens, Anchors Hair Co. pomade, Shiner Gold pomade, 2 vintage straight razors. 

tools of GA

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Quality Is Not A Trend Or Fad

Amidst all the handcrafted products and “traditional” services here is a Rule Of Thumb that must never be ignored.

Photo taken with Panasonic GH and SLR Magic HyperPrime Lens. 

Quality goods insta

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Let me start by wishing you a Happy New Year and I hope everything you aspire to Letter and Radio dial NY2015complete comes to fruition in 2016. The new year has become a symbol of a fresh start and a chance to assess, contemplate, decide and execute things that were not accomplished in the previous year. In other words, it is a “second chance” of sorts but the truth of the matter is that the only things that changes is the calendar if no actions are taken.

To make an assessment of ones life requires information, data and honesty because many of the things that have transpired during the past year may be good and bad. So is the story of life but the danger is watering down the “bad/negative” experiences and hyping the “good/positive” experiences.

Once you distinguish the two the next step is to contemplate. That means taking a step back and don’t let the refreshed memories taint or emotionally overwhelm your decision. This is crucial because you can avoid a rush to judgement by careful contemplation.

Now that you have assessed and contemplated you must decide which action to take. That means you will look at the next 365 days as a chance to change and fulfill whatever goals and aspirations you have set for your self. Easy but not simple.

The final and crucial part is taking action because everything else is worthless if it is merely a “resolution”. All actions must be realistic and plausible. There is no point in setting yourself up for failure. Actions must also be well thought out and incremental. That means some decisions will require baby steps while others will be leaps into the darkness. Understanding the difference between the two is vital.

Today I spent most of the chilly morning shopping for hidden vintage diamonds but it was  not at a hipster den of the many “thrift stores”. Nothing wrong with them but I prefer the Inside of RCA NY2015haunts of my childhood, the swap meet. Digging through what looks like a hoarders loot on display is time consuming but also enjoyable. I ran across a box of old tube radios and proceeded to negotiate the sale. After some bargaining I purchased radios in varying conditions. The guy told me, “take the whole box because I don’t want to load it back in the truck.”

A few other small items were in the box but an envelope caught my eye because it was dated November 25, 1945 with a 3 cent stamp that read “Win The War”. America and the world were at war and peoples lives were affected by it and time did not stop for no one. Many new years have passed since the envelope was mailed.

I am not the first or last person on this earth and with this new year a plethora of choices will be made but I must be careful to asses, contemplate, decide and execute for the new year and failing to do so means that the only thing that will change is the calendar.

Mr. M

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GA Thanksgiving Film Festival 2015


Thank you very much for supporting everything we do. Whether it is publishing books and magazines or launching into independent films you have stood behind us and here is a little something that we created because we can.

While most film festivals take place in different parts of the world we decided to display some of our recent work online and create our own kind of film festival.

These short films (under 10 min) are all new and exciting. We are currently in post production on our first major film project, 120 Years Of Barbering the film that will be released on DVD in April 2016.

We will post the 3 short films on our website and YouTube Channel so stay tuned. This is our way of demonstrating our Thankfulness!

Want to get involved in our many film projects? Produce, Sponsor a one of a kind film project today! Contact us for details [email protected]

thanksgiving poster insta copy

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My Grandfather’s Photograph Has Been Restored!

I am excited to show off my amazing Grandfather’s photograph, before and after, vpc busines card1restoration by the good folks of Vintage Pixel Co! Now my family has  a great restored photograph and a digital copy that will last the test of time!

Such a great honor to have my grandfather’s photograph on their business card. Email them for information and tell them GA sent you!
[email protected]

vpc sm

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Celebrate Our 2 Year Anniversary Of Being The Best Damn Men’s Website!


On November 18, 2012 we published our first article about Opening Doors and since thenopening doors screen shot we have not only continued to write about Style, Grooming & Life but we also turned men’s publications right side up. We just celebrated our 1 year anniversary of The Avenue Men’s Magazine that contains no BS, no FLUFF!

Our websites first year produced alot of attention and we received a little over 1.2 million hits and this past year we increased to 1.5 million! It appears that individuals from all over the world enjoy our articles, features, reviews and FREE digital magazine.

We have written about everyone from world famous barbers Schorem Haarsnijder en gent_ave_coverBarbier from Rotterdam, Netherlands to barber legend and pomade pioneer Donnie Hawley to Reb Kennedy founder of Wild Records. We also enjoy writing about events, people and companies from all over the world.

We remain committed to being the best damn resource for men who seek authentic tradition and distinction. Being a gentle-man has nothing to do with ancestry or economic class but will always be rooted in the choices you make in life.

We are launching many projects in 2015 and look forward to a bright future of kicking ass and not even bothering to write their names! Stay tuned for the first ever modern history book about, The Revival Of The Traditional Barber Shop and the first ever Traditional Barber Journal.

More importantly we would like to thank you, our readers, who have not only liked and followed our endeavors but also shared our message and spread the gospel of manliness. Also a huge thanks to the people who have opened up their lives to us and the countless companies who have shared their products with our readers.

Mr. M

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