Master cigar roller, Amadeo Bonillo

Smoke on the water… Santiago Cigar Factory

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As of late, I’ve come to appreciate a good cigar now and then, and have found that an occasional cigar out on the water can make a day of kayak fishing even better, regardless of whether the fish are biting. This is especially so while fishing in my home waters here in the Finger Lakes. While Western New York has some great fishing, one of the things I’ve found lacking is a source of premium cigars. That is, until I stumbled upon the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY.

Master cigar roller, Amadeo Bonillo

Master roller,, Amadeo Bonillo, finishing some fine cigars at the Santiago Cigar Factory in Rochester, NY

That’s right, a genuine hand rolled cigar factory nestled at 335 East street, where I had the great pleasure to meet the owner, Gary Liotta, and got to watch master roller Amadeo Bonilla putting the finishing touches on some fine cigars he had just rolled and pressed. Gary was extremely friendly and informative. Far from being an aficionado, I’m a relative newcomer to the enjoyment of cigars, but generally prefer full-bodied cigars and believe I can appreciate a quality smoke. Gary suggested that I try the Santiago Maduro Fuerte, and it did not disappoint. More than that, it was simply the best cigar I had ever had. I enjoyed the cigar in the factory’s smoking lounge while chatting with Gary, his staff, and other patrons. I found the Maduro Fuerte to be full bodied, complex, and yet lacking the harshness of other full bodied maduro cigars that I’ve had. It is obvious that much time and care was invested in creating the perfect blend of tobaccos to create this masterpiece. I look forward to enjoying this cigar on the water along with other fine cigars that the Santiago Cigar Factory has to offer.

The Rochester and Finger Lakes Region has a growing wine and micro-brewing industry and I believe that the Santiago Cigar Factory is an outstanding accompaniment. I will be sure to report on my observations once I have the chance to try their master rolled cigars out on the water!