On the way back from work today I stopped to patronize a merchant in my neighborhood. Ah, New York City - where, in addition to decent bagels at 4 am you can find stuff like this. Between the subway station and home is a small storefront, which has several stools outside (always occupied in warmer weather) and a workbench behind the plate glass window. At this bench, a Dominican gentleman sits while the shop is open, rolling cigars from leaf tobacco.

As far as I can tell, they sell only their own product, in numerous styles and flavors. I purchased a Robusto, with a maduro outer wrapper, for a couple of dollars. The cashier, who was also the proprietor, expertly v-cut it and handed it to me with a box of wooden matches. We nodded to each other and I strolled from the shop into the evening, stopping near the street to light my new acquisition.

Damn, Dominicans make strong cigars.

A Robusto cigar is a type of Corona, which is itself a type of Parejo. Thus, it is cylindrical in shape with a flat open end and a ball cap of tobacco covering the other. The smoker must cut the ball cap in the style of their choice (V-cut, straight cut, punch, teeth) and light the flat open end, drawing through the cap. More specifically, a Robusto is something near 4 and 7/8 inches in length, with a 50 ring gauge. The length will vary depending on the maker, but the 50 ring is standard. 4 and 7/8" is more of a 'goal' than a requirement.

The cigar I tried was about a 30 minute smoke, leisurely, outside, with a decent trashy novel to keep it company. I walked up the several hundred feet of outdoor stairs towards home, and at the top there is a handy bench - which I made good use of.

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